Wagner Ruiz is the co-founder and CFO of Curitiba-based fintech Ebanx, which boasts over 55 million registered users and more than 1,000 partner websites. In this exclusive interview, Ruiz discusses Ebanx’s success as Brazil’s first unicorn to hail from the south of the country, the company’s international expansion, and how it is currently looking after employees amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, among other topics.
Leaders League. What is Ebanx and what does it do?
Wagner Ruiz. Ebanx is a global fintech company that offers local payment methods in eight Latin American countries: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Our goal is to enable Latin Americans to explore the world and to open the region up to international companies. We were founded in 2012 with the aim of offering local payment options for Latin American consumers looking to purchase products and services on international websites.
Today, the company offers more than 100 local payment options. We have helped approximately 55 million Latin Americans access global services and products, and more than 1,000 international websites expand into the region. AliExpress, Wish, Pipedrive, Airbnb and Spotify – the last two in partnership with Worldline – are just some of the companies using Ebanx solutions. We stand out in the market due to our Latin American DNA. Our three founders are Brazilian, we are headquartered in the state of Paraná, and we have teams present in eight different countries across the region, with over 15 nationalities represented among our employees.
Ebanx also offers the best service in the region, with high standards of compliance and functionality. We go beyond payment processing by offering marketing consultancy services to merchants and a 24/7 local customer support team which assists all merchant clients in Latin America in their own language. Last year, we started offering local processing in Brazil through the company Ebanx Pagamentos, allowing Brazilian websites selling in the country to use Ebanx solutions. Earlier this year, we set foot in the B2C world with the launch of Ebanx Go, a digital payments account in Brazil, with digital and physical cards.
What were the main challenges Ebanx had to overcome on the road to success?
We were born with a global challenge in mind as there was a very clear access gap in Latin America. In the beginning, we had a huge challenge with regards to endorsement. We were three very young Brazilians, so imagine convincing major businesses and global companies to even talk to us. We had to prove ourselves.
“Our goal is to enable Latin Americans to explore the world and to open the region up to international companies”
Secondly, our expansion to other Latin American countries was also challenging. Sometimes, people in the United States, Europe and Asia speak of Brazil and Latin America as if they were the same thing. Not only does Brazil speak a different language, but even among the Spanish-speaking countries, there are completely different cultures and markets, as well as completely different technical challenges. In each new country, it was a huge challenge to start operations. Today we offer more than 100 local payment methods in eight countries on a single platform, but it was not easy getting here.
What are the company’s current plans for growth?
We have always focused on taking care of our employees and our customers in the most human and transparent way possible, and it’s no different in times like these. In this pandemic, our aim is to provide our employees – whom we fondly call ebankers – with the best possible working conditions. The whole company has been working from home since 16 March, so we’ve needed to maintain transparent and constant communication with our staff and clients.
At this point, any company or leader needs to follow these guidelines to overcome the totally atypical situation we are all going through. This is a scenario that neither we nor the global market has experienced before. As such, studying the lives of our employees and clients on a daily basis will help us understand how the company will perform in the short, medium and long term. We want to come out of this having become even more human and united, taking away lessons that, albeit painful, can help us evolve as people and as a company.